That's about as close to the start of the season the Steelers will give an extension. Recently, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert indicated the team was not in negotiations with any of their players, and no extensions were likely to be announced before the season started.
And none have.
Tribune Review reporter Alan Robinson wrote a piece on Steelers' wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, detailing the timeline in which Sanders benefited from restricted free agency and the New England Patriots to receiver nearly a 100 percent raise for the 2013 season.
Sanders will make $2.5 million this season with the Steelers, but after that, who knows? It's equally up in the air what kind of season the talented-but-often-inactive Sanders will have. The Steelers drafted WR Markus Wheaton in the third round - the same round as Sanders in 2010 and Mike Wallace in 2009 - in the 2013 NFL Draft, and one doesn't need to work hard to see there is potentially writing on the wall.
Ziggy Hood is in a similar position. The Steelers' first round pick of the 2009 NFL Draft is without a contract next season. The Steelers have veteran Brett Keisel turning 35 in two weeks, and unproven 2011 first round pick Cameron Heyward comprising the Steelers' three-deep at the defensive end position. They also have veteran journeyman Al Woods, who appears to have found a home inside the Steelers defense.
Undrafted free agent Brian Arnfelt made a strong run at a roster spot this preseason and is currently on the Steelers' practice squad. It appears he could be a long-term fit in Pittsburgh.
Does that mean Hood's days are numbered? A lot can happen between Week 1 of the regular season and the start of free agency, but solid seasons for both Hood and Sanders - as well as a level of leadership and reliability usually associated with players the Steelers keep long-term - can only help their chances.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Titans Week 1: Everything you need to know
- The "Story" of the Steelers in 2013
- Fantasy Football stat predictions for Steelers vs. Titans
- Key Match-ups: Steelers ILBs vs. Chris Johnson
- Roethlisberger to top 30,000 career passing yards vs. Tennessee
- 5 Reasons why the Steelers will beat the Titans
- Steelers vs. Titans: Game time, TV broadcast info and more
- Which Titans player should concern the Steelers the most?
- Five questions with Behind The Steel Curtain (From Music City Miracles)
- 'A healthy Troy is hell for opposing teams'
- Be on the lookout for the new No. 55 in Pittsburgh
- Steelers 2013 team photos
- Steelers vs. Titans: The time to send a message is now
- Roethlisberger needs young offensive line to step up Sunday
- Weekend Checkdown heading into Week 1
- Steelers Injury Report: Johnson, Jones both probable
- Shamarko Thomas's keys are key vs. Titans